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post #1 of 124 Old 06-02-2015, 01:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Setting subwoofer level in AVR to taste Question

I like to add 2 to 3 dB to the subwoofer level after running YPAO and I do it to taste based on what sounds best with the majority of BD movies I watch. I generally set it as high as possible before it gets overpowering or boomy or distorted in any obvious way. However, I find at the current level I have it at sounds great 95% of the time but sometimes there is a subtle, mild but steady droning noise from it when the movie has a steady bass tone either part of the background music or sound effects. I can lower it by 0.5 dB and get rid of that effect but then the remaining 95% of the time I'm not getting as satisfying bass impact as before. And for reference, YPAO sets the level to -4.0 dB at the avr and I'm talking about the merits of -1.5 dB vs. -2.0 dB. Also, the sub gain knob is slightly past the halfway mark and the sub is in a corner but with at least 2-3 inches from the walls at any given point. Also, this position and the -1.5 dB level work extremely well 95% of the time with serious wow factor and no complaints (room is 12' by 12' by 8' tall and sub is Dayton Audio SUB-1200). I have a carpeted floor.

I guess my real question is what does that droning sound signify beyond a sub level that is slightly too high and how does one decide how to balance impact with avoiding side effects like that? Is there more going on like sub placement and room acoustics? Or is this simply what happens when the level is too high?
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post #2 of 124 Old 06-03-2015, 09:28 AM
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Like you said, there is probably more going on; sub placement and acoustics.

The offending "drone" may be at a frequency that excites your room in a way that you find objectionable. Moving the sub out of the corner may help, room treatments may help, moving the MLP may help. However, it could just be that your sub can't play that particular frequency well (i.e. it is too low for the sub to reproduce without distortion). It could also be that items in your room (walls, pictures, lights, etc.) are vibrating at that frequency and causing the offending tone.

The only way to find out for sure is to measure your response (see the REW link in my sig). Short of that, you will have to experiment with placement as much as you can.
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post #3 of 124 Old 06-03-2015, 09:55 AM
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I used to have this problem with every sub and was close to giving up the hobby for good. I finally decided that some kind of equalization was required. My room, like most, has really nasty spikes in the 40-60Hz and 70-80 range. Got an amp with a DSP and things are so much better it's nearly unbelievable. There are still problems that only room treatments will solve, but I can't imagine ever using a sub without a PEQ or DEQ.
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post #4 of 124 Old 06-03-2015, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Don't think I'm a fan of PEQ on my Yamaha HTR-3066 5.1 channel receiver but are better external eq solutions like eq boxes or the like available and if so how do they work?

Do they work in conjunction with REW and YPAO?

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post #5 of 124 Old 06-03-2015, 12:40 PM - Thread Starter
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What's DEQ and what is the difference between it and PEQ?
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post #6 of 124 Old 06-03-2015, 12:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Also, does this have anything to do with placing the sub on my carpeted floor and it's down firing port?
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post #7 of 124 Old 06-03-2015, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Would putting it on something help?
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post #8 of 124 Old 06-03-2015, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by PlasmaPZ80U View Post
Would putting it on something help?
If the sub is on carpet there isn't a whole lot you can do. I've got my sub on a Auralex Gramma, and I can tell you that it doesn't do anything. I would go ahead and just leave it on the carpet.

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post #9 of 124 Old 06-03-2015, 01:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Would putting it on something help?
If the sub is on carpet there isn't a whole lot you can do. I've got my sub on a Auralex Gramma, and I can tell you that it doesn't do anything. I would go ahead and just leave it on the carpet.
Ok, good to know
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post #10 of 124 Old 06-03-2015, 09:23 PM
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I like to add 2 to 3 dB to the subwoofer level after running YPAO and I do it to taste based on what sounds best with the majority of BD movies I watch. I generally set it as high as possible before it gets overpowering or boomy or distorted in any obvious way. However, I find at the current level I have it at sounds great 95% of the time but sometimes there is a subtle, mild but steady droning noise from it when the movie has a steady bass tone either part of the background music or sound effects. I can lower it by 0.5 dB and get rid of that effect but then the remaining 95% of the time I'm not getting as satisfying bass impact as before. And for reference, YPAO sets the level to -4.0 dB at the avr and I'm talking about the merits of -1.5 dB vs. -2.0 dB. Also, the sub gain knob is slightly past the halfway mark and the sub is in a corner but with at least 2-3 inches from the walls at any given point. Also, this position and the -1.5 dB level work extremely well 95% of the time with serious wow factor and no complaints (room is 12' by 12' by 8' tall and sub is Dayton Audio SUB-1200). I have a carpeted floor.

I guess my real question is what does that droning sound signify beyond a sub level that is slightly too high and how does one decide how to balance impact with avoiding side effects like that? Is there more going on like sub placement and room acoustics? Or is this simply what happens when the level is too high?
You could try increasing the amp volume on the sub then re run YPAO and try seeing if you can set it up how you like it better.

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post #11 of 124 Old 06-03-2015, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by PlasmaPZ80U View Post
Also, does this have anything to do with placing the sub on my carpeted floor and it's down firing port?
Doesn't hurt to try.

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post #12 of 124 Old 06-03-2015, 09:56 PM
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What's DEQ and what is the difference between it and PEQ?
DEQ is often an abbreviation for Audyssey's Dynamic EQ, which is basically a loudness contour curve that changes with volume...it might be something else, too. Parametric EQ is a specific type of eq....try this http://www.mediacollege.com/audio/eq/parametric.html

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post #13 of 124 Old 06-04-2015, 08:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Also, does this have anything to do with placing the sub on my carpeted floor and it's down firing port?
Doesn't hurt to try.
Would I be looking for something that absorbs or reflects sound? Like acoustic foam or hardwood?
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post #14 of 124 Old 06-04-2015, 08:47 AM - Thread Starter
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I like to add 2 to 3 dB to the subwoofer level after running YPAO and I do it to taste based on what sounds best with the majority of BD movies I watch. I generally set it as high as possible before it gets overpowering or boomy or distorted in any obvious way. However, I find at the current level I have it at sounds great 95% of the time but sometimes there is a subtle, mild but steady droning noise from it when the movie has a steady bass tone either part of the background music or sound effects. I can lower it by 0.5 dB and get rid of that effect but then the remaining 95% of the time I'm not getting as satisfying bass impact as before. And for reference, YPAO sets the level to -4.0 dB at the avr and I'm talking about the merits of -1.5 dB vs. -2.0 dB. Also, the sub gain knob is slightly past the halfway mark and the sub is in a corner but with at least 2-3 inches from the walls at any given point. Also, this position and the -1.5 dB level work extremely well 95% of the time with serious wow factor and no complaints (room is 12' by 12' by 8' tall and sub is Dayton Audio SUB-1200). I have a carpeted floor.

I guess my real question is what does that droning sound signify beyond a sub level that is slightly too high and how does one decide how to balance impact with avoiding side effects like that? Is there more going on like sub placement and room acoustics? Or is this simply what happens when the level is too high?
You could try increasing the amp volume on the sub then re run YPAO and try seeing if you can set it up how you like it better.
I don't think this would help since I have level in the avr in the negative range with the boost and just 1.5 dB under zero. So its not like one control is way too high and the other way too low or vice versa.
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post #15 of 124 Old 06-04-2015, 08:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Like you said, there is probably more going on; sub placement and acoustics.

The offending "drone" may be at a frequency that excites your room in a way that you find objectionable. Moving the sub out of the corner may help, room treatments may help, moving the MLP may help. However, it could just be that your sub can't play that particular frequency well (i.e. it is too low for the sub to reproduce without distortion). It could also be that items in your room (walls, pictures, lights, etc.) are vibrating at that frequency and causing the offending tone.

The only way to find out for sure is to measure your response (see the REW link in my sig). Short of that, you will have to experiment with placement as much as you can.
To elaborate, this droning appears to happen at a bass frequency somewhere in the middle/upper portion of the range, not at the lowest point since the droning sound is not near the deepest bass frequencies I've heard from the sub (unless it sounds that way because the sub can't handle it). I have the crossover at 120 Hz. Lower crossovers make dialogue from the center channel lose clarity by a very noticeable amount and lessen overall bass. I have a global crossover setting only.
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post #16 of 124 Old 06-04-2015, 09:01 AM
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Would I be looking for something that absorbs or reflects sound? Like acoustic foam or hardwood?
Nothing shy of a few feet thick will absorb the long wavelengths that radiate from a port, besides which, why would you want to do so? Radiating long wavelengths is why you have a sub. As for the 'drone', the source may be the program material. It also may be the result of having the AVR output set too low, giving a poor signal to noise ratio. Boosting the AVR output level while reducing the sub amp level may help.

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+1.

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post #17 of 124 Old 06-04-2015, 09:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Would I be looking for something that absorbs or reflects sound? Like acoustic foam or hardwood?
Nothing shy of a few feet thick will absorb the long wavelengths that radiate from a port, besides which, why would you want to do so? Radiating long wavelengths is why you have a sub. As for the 'drone', the source may be the program material. It also may be the result of having the AVR output set too low, giving a poor signal to noise ratio. Boosting the AVR output level while reducing the sub amp level may help.

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The only way to find out for sure is to measure your response
+1.
I thought keeping the avr level in the negative or close to zero was preferable. Mine is at -1.5 dB with the boost and -4.0 dB without. Sub gain is slightly past 50%.
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post #18 of 124 Old 06-04-2015, 09:15 AM
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Hard to know what you mean by droning. What volume levels are you listening at? Sounds like the combo of gain on your sub and the avr's level are okay.
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post #19 of 124 Old 06-04-2015, 09:25 AM
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And if you could give us some particular movies and scenes maybe we could check 'em out ourselves.
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post #20 of 124 Old 06-04-2015, 10:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Next bd or netflix instant streaming movie I notice it in, I will post the title and time code.
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post #21 of 124 Old 06-04-2015, 10:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Hard to know what you mean by droning. What volume levels are you listening at? Sounds like the combo of gain on your sub and the avr's level are okay.
Moderate in the -30 dB to -50 dB range on my Yamaha AVR. Most movies between -42.5 dB and -37.5 dB. Sometimes -2.5 dB lower (-45.0 dB) and sometimes 2.5 dB to 5.0 dB higher (-35.0 dB to -32.5 dB)
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post #22 of 124 Old 06-04-2015, 11:14 AM
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Those are very low listening levels even considering your small room. I was thinking you might be listening at very loud levels and pushing something beyond a limit or something but to me those are shhhh the baby's sleeping kind of levels! Hard to imagine you can hear a significant change of level with only a .5 dB adjustment, too. Maybe your hearing is a lot better than mine but I think I'm more with Alan's first post that you might be exciting a particular mode just right....
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post #23 of 124 Old 06-04-2015, 11:24 AM
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I thought keeping the avr level in the negative or close to zero was preferable. Mine is at -1.5 dB with the boost and -4.0 dB without. Sub gain is slightly past 50%.
Google 'gain structure'. For the best signal to noise ratio the AVR output should be as high as possible without causing clipping of the sub amp input stage.

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post #24 of 124 Old 06-04-2015, 11:40 AM
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Moderate in the -30 dB to -50 dB range on my Yamaha AVR. Most movies between -42.5 dB and -37.5 dB. Sometimes -2.5 dB lower (-45.0 dB) and sometimes 2.5 dB to 5.0 dB higher (-35.0 dB to -32.5 dB)
Are you certain your SPL is calibrated correctly? I can barely hear my system at -50MV.
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post #25 of 124 Old 06-04-2015, 12:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Those are very low listening levels even considering your small room. I was thinking you might be listening at very loud levels and pushing something beyond a limit or something but to me those are shhhh the baby's sleeping kind of levels! Hard to imagine you can hear a significant change of level with only a .5 dB adjustment, too. Maybe your hearing is a lot better than mine but I think I'm more with Alan's first post that you might be exciting a particular mode just right....
I adjust volume based on peaks since I don't like very loud peaks. This means the dynamic range of the soundtrack determines the average volume level. Also, sub changes of 0.5 dB make subtle changes until I reach a point where it either becomes overpowering or distorted. I would consider the droning a sign of some sort of distortion though not sure exactly what. I guess at some point 0.5 dB changes in subwoofer level become obvious... a critical point of some sort. This issue was a bigger deal when my sub was farther in the corner almost touching the walls and to a milder extent bigger almost touching one of the walls. Right now it's as far from both walls as it can be without touching other furniture. Though it's still in the corner. The corner is the only place I can fit it.

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post #26 of 124 Old 06-04-2015, 12:33 PM
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If the sub is on carpet there isn't a whole lot you can do. I've got my sub on a Auralex Gramma, and I can tell you that it doesn't do anything. I would go ahead and just leave it on the carpet.
An Auralex on carpet is good only to protect the sub when using the vacuum cleaner lol!
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post #27 of 124 Old 06-04-2015, 01:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Moderate in the -30 dB to -50 dB range on my Yamaha AVR. Most movies between -42.5 dB and -37.5 dB. Sometimes -2.5 dB lower (-45.0 dB) and sometimes 2.5 dB to 5.0 dB higher (-35.0 dB to -32.5 dB)
Are you certain your SPL is calibrated correctly? I can barely hear my system at -50MV.
Usually closer to -40 dB
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post #28 of 124 Old 06-04-2015, 01:17 PM
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I adjust volume based on peaks since I don't like very loud peaks. This means the dynamic range of the soundtrack determines the average volume level. Also, sub changes of 0.5 dB make subtle changes until I reach a point where it either becomes overpowering or distorted. I would consider the droning a sign of some sort of distortion though not sure exactly what. I guess at some point 0.5 dB changes in subwoofer level become obvious... a critical point of some sort. This issue was a bigger deal when my sub was farther in the corner almost touching the walls and to a milder extent bigger almost touching one of the walls. Right now it's as far from both walls as it can be without touching other furniture. Though it's still in the corner. The corner is the only place I can fit it.
Curious, are you using any sort of bass boost or loudness compensation/contour feature (don't know what they call it in a Yamaha unit, in an Audyssey unit it is Dynamic EQ or in some units THX Loudness Plus), or any dynamic range compression feature?

Can you describe a bit more what you mean by droning? That's a description I can't get my head around...
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post #29 of 124 Old 06-04-2015, 01:36 PM - Thread Starter
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I adjust volume based on peaks since I don't like very loud peaks. This means the dynamic range of the soundtrack determines the average volume level. Also, sub changes of 0.5 dB make subtle changes until I reach a point where it either becomes overpowering or distorted. I would consider the droning a sign of some sort of distortion though not sure exactly what. I guess at some point 0.5 dB changes in subwoofer level become obvious... a critical point of some sort. This issue was a bigger deal when my sub was farther in the corner almost touching the walls and to a milder extent bigger almost touching one of the walls. Right now it's as far from both walls as it can be without touching other furniture. Though it's still in the corner. The corner is the only place I can fit it.
Curious, are you using any sort of bass boost or loudness compensation/contour feature (don't know what they call it in a Yamaha unit, in an Audyssey unit it is Dynamic EQ or in some units THX Loudness Plus), or any dynamic range compression feature?

Can you describe a bit more what you mean by droning? That's a description I can't get my head around...
No drc or anything of the sort. No eq either.

By droning, I mean continous on/off noise that is distorted yet very steady. Raising the level makes it louder and lowering the level eventually makes it disappear. Right now -1.5 is the lowest level setting that makes it occur. -2.0 dB gets rid of it. -1.0 makes it more obvious.

It's quite rare though, which is why in the last few days of watching content it has not occurred once.

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post #30 of 124 Old 06-04-2015, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Maybe resonance better describes it. In a nutshell, it's a sound that shouldn't be there or should be smoother and clearer.

Last edited by PlasmaPZ80U; 06-05-2015 at 04:02 PM.
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